Sound science and the free flow of facts are a national security imperative. Without genuine investigation, a willingness to discover evidence, and ways to ensure that reliable, useful, accurate information is moving freely, everyone is less able to know which choices will have which ramifications, and so everyone is less able to make informed choices about how to govern individual or shared outcomes. Open access to sound science is integral to any serious strategy to secure the nation, ensure the rule of law, or empower the people to achieve durable future prosperity.
Why we choose the burden of outdated power structures
The modern age opened with the advent of modern science and a deliberative effort to demonstrate truth with examination of evidence. Modern democratic processes emerged from this break with feudal history. Today, we are living in post-modern times—the period after modern breakthroughs became the general foundation on which new discoveries were then made.
Philosophers, architects, literary theorists, painters and politicians, will all define post-modern in different ways, but what we can say is that we have emerged from modernity into a time when legitimacy is not inherited or seized, but rather developed through decentralized processes of discussion, coordination, and responsible accountable governance. Today’s most recognized monarchies own their legitimacy only because they support and sustain democratic political systems that carry out the acts of government in parallel to their position as historically founded national leaders.
by Pablo Neruda
To whomever hears not the crashing of waves
this Friday morning
who being locked in a home or office
factory or coal mine or side street
romance or dry prison cell: to them
unspeaking and blind the poet attends
opening the door that has shut them in
where endlessness can be heard vaguely insisting
a long fragmented thunder adding its weight
to the planet and the foam
hoarse rivers emerging from the ocean
a star breakneck vibrating amid thorns
while the sea pulses and dies and goes on.
We’re entering a new age for the Earth’s climate and for the way we conceive of finance
“Macrocritical resilience” may be the most mystifying two-word phrase you need to know. Though you may never have heard these two words before, what they describe affects everything you live and strive for. Wonky as it sounds, it is a common sense idea: what generates value is more valuable than what we count in dollars. And yet, it is only in the last few years that we are truly beginning to understand that macrocritical indicators—elements of human experience that shape the health and viability of the overall economy—really do describe how and where value and capability come into being.
Unselfish excellence & a commitment to always-active learning
The Historic 2016 Season
The Villanova University men’s basketball team not only won the 2016 NCAA National Championship; they did so with elegance, grace under pressure, and a deep commitment to quality ethical play. The easiest thing you can say about why the Villanova Wildcats are a fun team to watch is that they give you a riveting, energetic, and beautiful display of how the game is supposed to be played.
All the building we have to do…
For many years, the engineers of the United States have warned that infrastructure urgently needs trillions of dollars in routine maintenance, and trillions more in updates and upgrades. Infrastructure is the shared framework on which we build a thriving economy. Businesses of all sizes are able to compete for market value, in part because the quality of transport, electrification, and communications infrastructure is of world-leading quality.
We make our way in the world through individual choice and group dynamics, but we don’t make everything we experience. Much of what we call our “world” is inherited—some good, some bad. We have inherited from the evolution of a brilliantly complex cosmos natural systems that sustain life. These include local ecosystems, regional watersheds, and a planetary climate system spanning the atmosphere and oceans. Some of us are lucky enough to have inherited open democratic political systems.
These political systems don’t run themselves, and they are not guaranteed by any physical law to continue being open and democratic without impediment or interruption. They require our constant attention and participation, and they demand that we take seriously whether or not we are putting in and getting out something that can justly be called democratic republican liberalism—liberal meaning a system that recognizes foundational rights and liberties.
Fierce Urgency & Democracy Rooted in Deep Principle
Exigency is an immediate state of pervasive intense demand on our attention. “Exigent circumstances” are considered to be both emergent and critical enough to override one’s normal free will and moral decision-making. Under extreme pressures, the argument goes, one is less able to “live up to” the best of what we expect of ourselves and each other. This leaves one with less agency, less sovereignty, and less capability for doing anything other than tending to whatever actions will allow for survival in the face of a threat. In that sense, whether we know it or not, “exigent circumstances” are by far the most commonly used excuse for deviating from what would normally be considered acceptable or ethical behavior.
In October 2015, during the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Managing Director of the IMF, the world’s most powerful fund for stabilizing national budgets, announced that “anything that is macrocritical is the IMF’s business”. This was an historic shift from a view that all that mattered was the hard arithmetic of a given budget to a view that the math could not be honestly rendered without accounting for policies that create ripple effects and feedbacks throughout the entire macroeconomy.
Even as the world’s leaders are moving toward a commitment to sustainable development, climate-smart future-building, and civics and business-ready education for all people everywhere, Donald Trump alleges that “fiduciary responsibility” to his businesses and investors requires him to dodge taxes. The best way to talk about how wrong Mr. Trump is will be to leave him and his bombast out of the story, except to say his ideas about fiduciary responsibility and tax dodging are wrong in every sense of the word.